Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tip
Strength Training for Diabetes
November 21, 2006

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I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and I want to start weight-training. What should I know and what are my guidelines? (Jim, Smithtown)

The good news is that resistance training is both safe and effective for most diabetics. Research studies show that exercise is as important for managing diabetes as is diet. Start by discussing an exercise program with your physician. Once you get medical clearance, you can do resistance training not only with weight machines, bars and dumbbells, but also with tubing and bands. Work with a qualified trainer until you get your sea-legs.

Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Begin with one set of an exercise working large muscle groups, upper (Like chest and back) and lower body (hips, legs), 10-15 reps per body part.
  • Progress and increase the resistance when 12-15 reps become fairly easy.
  • All movements need to be done with strict form and controlled rhythmic breathing – never hold your breath. Exhale on the exertion phase of a movement.
  • Each body part should be worked 1-2 times per week according to the trainee’s tolerance for exercise.
  • Get to know your body! Always look and be aware of warning signs or irregular behavior like shortness of breath, hypoglycemia, dizziness, or pain in the working body part.

Listen to Frank Mikulka's Weekly Fitness Tips every week on Debbie Mandel's Turn On Your Inner Light Show every Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 7:30 pm on WGBB 1240AM. Also available on